Loevinger, Congruency, and Easing the Discord

The one piece of formal assessment we do is Dr. Jane Loevinger’s Washington University Sentence Completion Test. This measure of emotional and psychological maturity has been shown to differentiate between those AA helps, harms and kills.

Our work is with those of you who fall into the latter two categories – since those whom it actually works for need neither our approach nor traditional treatment – they just need to go to AA.

But those of us who fall onto the harm/kill categories?

Many of us drink to excess to escape the loneliness associated with “not fitting in,” or being unable to find a similarly mature partner, or by being easy targets for predators, or because we aren’t living in accord with our self-image and values.

That’s a lot of potential risk that we have unknowingly been running. Throw in a few genetic factors and it’s a wonder we’ve survived at all.

Except we have, and most of us will. The questions are how, and how well.

Answering those questions means understanding how we are like others, how we differ, and how to become more comfortable with “difference,” more aware of threats and how to be self-protective, and how to become assertive rather than passive, passive aggressive, or aggressive.

It also means learning to avoid the anxiety and guilt associated with not conforming to others while also being true to our own values, preferences, abilities, interests, and, yes, eccentricities.

Much alcohol abuse is an attempt – successful in the short run – to ease the background noise when we’re not being true to ourselves, when we’re allowing ourselves to be pushed around and manipulated, and when we falsely believe that others are making decisions the same way we are.

There’s nothing like beginning to see yourself and others more clearly and accurately to start overcoming the need to medicate and beginning to live your own unique life.

That’s called achieving a measure of contentment and j0y before it’s too late.

For more on Dr. Loevinger and you, click here.

Taxes, the Weather, ISIS, Donald Trump, Memorial Day Weekend, and…..

Now that we’re past the major holidays and the Super Bowl, it’s time to trot out another list of reasons to postpone addressing our alcohol-related problems.

Across much of the country the weather is indeed atrocious, ISIS is the current terrorist group of note, The Donald is a tantrum throwing 3 year old, and Memorial Day is the next three-day weekend binge excuse, particularly if you live in Indianapolis.

But what does this have to do with you? Or your life?

Not much, if anything. Except as an excuse or distraction.

As we noted last fall, the holiday season, Halloween through the Super Bowl, provides a handy rationale for delaying doing anything about whatever problems may be nagging at you. We’re awfully good at deciding that this isn’t quite the right time. Yet.

We assure ourselves that we will get around to it when the time “is right.”

Guess what? The time is never going to be “right.”

It doesn’t matter the condition. Drinking, smoking, diet, divorce, or general misery, we all decide to wait. And I’m no different. I have quit smoking 4 times, the last some 15 years ago. But on average, I contemplated quitting for 2 to 3 years before I actually did what I knew was required. Finally, I just quit hemming and hawing, picked a date and did it.

Ending my vodka abuse 30+ years ago wasn’t much different.

And the same is true for you.

So, is it going to be after tax time? Baseball’s Opening Day? Your birthday? The 4th of July? Labor Day? Halloween?

How about the last week in April or the first week in May?

Why not pick a week and just do it?

As Katherine Hepburn’s mother advised, “Don’t die wondering.”

To which we’d add, “Don’t die waiting, either.”